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Why do people go to class

Not to learn, certainly.

David Friedman says:

I have long been puzzled by why lecturers were not replaced by books shortly after the invention of printing made books cheap. Video is just the latest incarnation of that puzzle.

Well if you’ve been puzzled for long, why don’t you think about it? Come on, Mr. Friedman. You’re a smart guy. If you don’t understand something, just think a bit harder. Or better still: think outside the box.

Some guys out there put theories about humans being wired to pay attention to lecturers, more than to books or videos. I don’t know. Certainly didn’t work like that for me. A boring lecture is a boring lecture whether on video or in person. I’m not the most patient guy so your mileage may vary but I surely didn’t pay much attention myself to my professors unless they were particularly good.

The answer to the question is obvious. I mean, come on. People don’t go to college to learn. They go because it’s the official way of attaining high status. That’s what education is for. The guy who just wants to learn already reads the book and doesn’t bother with the lecture. The fact that we still have lectures and pay lecturers, as some guy said over there, “pay thousands of professors to give exactly the same Calculus lecture”, is not to satisfy the market of kids who want to learn. That’s not the market that high education caters for.

Robin Hanson made what I consider the best claim: education is about making friends with high prestige people. “Impressive people”, as he put it. He would know, as he’s quite impressive himself, and he appears to understand that a lot of people try to be friends with him even though they aren’t at all interested in what he has to say. So for any average kid, a math professor is a high prestige guy. He’s smart. He’s impressive. Being in the same room with the guy means you have something of the social standing of that guy. You may not be impressive yourself, but you’re good enough to be in the same room as an impressive guy.

You’ll notice that’s the same logic for why people follow celebrities all over the world. What’s the freaking point in going batshit crazy over some singer, paying thousands and thousands of dollars? Why do people ask for autographs? Why do teenage girls go insane when some famous guy looked at them? Why the hell does every TV celebrity have millions of followers on Twitter? Because interaction is status. I have some connection with a high-status guy. Means I’m high status too. Sorta. It used to work like that in 100,000 BC. Not so much today in social media. But evolution is what it is. Gnon is lazy.

Dunbar Feminism

I think I should stop selling “behaviorism”. By which I mean, I should stop calling what I sell “behaviorism”. I shall call it “immediatism”.

Basic points are: all politics are local. All cognition is local. Nothing is abstract. People behave so as to immediate conditions. Here’s an example. Sweden.

http://www.government.se/government-policy/a-feminist-government/

Let me quote:

Sweden has the first feminist government in the world. This means that gender equality is central to the Government’s priorities – in decision-making and resource allocation. A feminist government ensures that a gender equality perspective is brought into policy-making on a broad front, both nationally and internationally. Women and men must have the same power to shape society and their own lives. This is a human right and a matter of democracy and justice. Gender equality is also part of the solution to society’s challenges and a matter of course in a modern welfare state – for justice and economic development. The Government’s most important tool for implementing feminist policy is gender mainstreaming, of which gender-responsive budgeting is an important component.

Feminism gender gender feminism power gender feminism. And first. You get the gist. They also had this sort of battle picture:

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So you’d think these people will be very consistent feminists, and make a lot of policies to further the movement. And indeed, they are wreaking havoc in Sweden by doing retarded stuff like “feminist snow plowing”, collapsing the whole transport system in the process. But then these feminists do things like this:

And so people start howling: you can’t do this! What kind of feminist are you if put on a veil to pander to Muslims. Which is true of course, and this bunch of evil hags should be shamed as much as possible. But if you want to understand what is really going on, you gotta understand immediatism.

See, these Swedish middle aged women aren’t feminist in the abstract. They are feminist in their local environment. Which means that there are in a power struggle against their men. Not men in the abstract. But Swedish men. Their husbands, their brothers and their fathers. It is them who they want to spite. And to spite them they adopt “feminism”, i.e. they parrot feminist rhetoric, mostly imported from the USA. And the policies they adopt are tailored to fuck with Swedish men: like taking the snow out of the driveways that women walk, instead of the big roads that their men use to drive to work and transport stuff.

Iranian men just don’t compute in whatever drives these people’s behavior. Even the Muslim men who are slowly invading their country don’t count for much. For all they care they aren’t real people. They’re just some abstraction you read about. Only the people in your Dunbar circle are real. So their “feminism” is about fucking with the men in their Dunbar circle. Anything else isn’t actually there. It is often said that progressive rhetoric assumes that minorities don’t really have agency. Everything is the fault of white men. Same thing. Progressives are in a power struggle against fellow white people: nobody else matters. “Agency” only exists in so far as progressives find it useful in order to achieve more power for themselves against their Dunbar-rivals.

And so when a Swedish prime minister goes to Iran, she puts the veil. Not because she’s not a feminist: but because her feminism is an immediate concern, not an abstract principle. Far away from home, out of sight of her husbands, brothers and fathers who they want to spite, they can be themselves, and enjoy being in the company of real men who force them to behave like decent women. They actually enjoy this, obviously. But they will never admit so to their fellow men. There’s two reasons for that. Often people say that is because their fellow men are beta, feminism is a shit test, the local people don’t pass the shit test so women end up despising the men for it. But I don’t think that’s all the story. Point is, in the local environment, white women and men are rivals in a power struggle, and no quarter is given. No amount of alpha can solve that. Only alphas who are not part of the local power struggle can influence women. Of course the question is how to stop white women from being in a state of war against their men. But that isn’t as easy as it sounds: Asian women give plenty of shit to Asian men, and even Muslim women are a pain in the ass in their own way. I guess only Afghans got that solved for good.

Penis Envy

I’ve meant for a long while to write a post about iconoclasm. The Byzantine Empire had been suffering defeats to Muslims for centuries. They lost 2/3rds of the Empire, and almost lost the whole of it too. It’s no wonder that some emperors thought that maybe Muslims were doing something right. They certainly seemed to have God’s favor.

The conclusion they reached was that God liked the Muslims because they did not have human figures in their mosques. Byzantine churches being full of icons, paintings, mosaics of Jesus and the myriad saints. Most of them pretty lame, too. Byzantine icons tend to be plain, dull, and often just badly drawn. It probably was the work of an endogamic caste of icon-painters who promoted each other for personal reasons unrelated to skill at painting, and flayed at any criticism by laypeople. How dare you criticize our holy art? You are just ignorant of God’s taste in painting. Kinda like the argument that progressive academics use when called out on their nonsensical “research”.

Anyway, Iconoclasm was attempted. The Byzantine state burned every human figure from their churches, which became as bare as mosques. It didn’t do much to help out in the war against the Muslims. What it did was provoke a century-long civil war. The icon-painter guild was *very* stubborn. And the Byzantine state was a mess who couldn’t impose it’s authority. So the change did more harm than good. Rhomania kept declining and rising again and then declining for good. And that was that. I guess there’s a parable here about cultural continuity.

Still, whatever the real world results of Iconoclasm, I couldn’t help feeling for Leo III when reading this piece of news. Man, these guys are doing something right.

wynne-forced-into-corner-mosque2

Who is this lonely looking woman? It’s the premier of the Canadian province of Ontario. She went to visit a mosque. See? All my multicultural subjects are my dear subjects citizens, I go around and they all worship me equally. That’s an actual line by Yongzheng emperor when been asked by a Chinese minister about Muslim misbehavior, by the way. But I digress. The premier of Ontario goes to visit a mosque as part of her show of holiness, and what happens? The Imam tells her that the guys are praying, so she gotta wait. And out of the way, please. We guys are busy. Serious stuff. Oh, yeah, go sit over there in the corner. But don’t you dare take off your veil. That’s right, good girl. Now where were we guys? Allaaaaaahu akbar.

The funny thing is that the Ontario premier is a lesbian. “First openly gay blabla”. A lesbian. A woman who wants to be a man. She probably wants to be there with the boys, praying to Allah. Dressing like a bro. But Allah won’t have her. Look at that face again. Poor thing. All the power of her office is nothing against the rock-solid frame of the Imam. Damn, that must have felt good.

Cost Disease

Cost disease. Why is everything so expensive?

This is the asexual take. This is the sexual take.

Not much to add myself. Just a small observation. Look at the graph:

primary_scost

I wonder what the graph of “female participation” looks like. That would include teachers, administrators, lobbyists, women with influence in the school district, etc.

Methinks that graph would look rather similar to the blue one. Perhaps with some time lag.

This also should apply to the other stuff: healthcare, subway construction, etc. It would be nice to look at the data.

Modernity

Maybe you can think of a different caption.

Behaviorism in Context

Let me explain what I mean when I call myself a Behaviorist. No, it’s not about blank slatism, or being able to completely manipulate anyone at will. It’s about not taking what people say at face value.

See this tweet:

No, no. Just, no. Please, somebody just close all the psychology faculties. Or close the whole universities while they’re at it. But this is completely wrong. Nonsensical, really. “People believe that…” doesn’t make sense. Look at this closely. It assumes that people have stuff inside their heads (“ideas”) and that that stuff inside their heads has some causative effect in how they behave. This is an utterly wrong way of thinking about this.

I mean, you don’t know what’s going on inside people’s heads. You just don’t. Look at this study in particular. They ask people about their own eating behavior and that of others. The answer to that question is not the “ideas” in the people’s heads. I mean, just look at the setting closely. You have:

1. Some college students
Being asked some question by:
2. A professor or grad student
About their own behavior.

And surprise, surprise, they make themselves look good and make others look not so good. Why would they do that? Well… maybe they want to make themselves look good. Because they want to appear high-status because that’s what people do.

Imagine this other setting: you are in Berkeley, and leftist thugs are running a Maoist style struggle session. They grab unpopular kid, who they think might be a Trump supporter, and they ask her what she thinks about heir own and the leftist eating habits.

What do you think she’s going to say? If she doesn’t want to get beat up with bats until she’s unconscious and gets half her rib broken, she’ll say her eating habits suck and that those of others are awesome. Why? Because she wants to survive. That’s also something that people do.

If you want to know what drives people’s behavior, you have to look at… people’s behavior. What they actually do. Not just ask them questions. Questions are social behavior which follows social rules. It’s all about context.

Modern social science still works on the rationalist paradigm, that people have “ideas” and that they “reason” about them. That is just a descendant of the Christian emphasis on “faith”, i.e. that some people have “faith” in their “hearts”, which makes them better people. Of course that was just a subterfuge to run a loyalty assessment on people. Making a good show of the “faith” in your “heart” was a very good costly signal to show your loyalty to the Christian team. Politics runs on this sort of misleading rituals. They work very well. I’ll loudly proclaim my loyalty to Kek and prostrate in front of its image whenever needed. The more people think it’s stupid the better a signal it will be.

But science should be about how things actually work. And the way things work is that you must look at what people do, not what they say. Or more accurately, you should understand what people “say” as a kind of “do”. If all those “scientists” got out of their parochial WEIRD world they’d actually understand that.

 

Trump’s 7 Country Ban

1ikd4h

1ikfc1

This is momentous. Any country that bans Somalis is on the right track.

Next goal is stripping citizenship.

 

What is True?

 

So let me follow up on my last post on Sam Harris vs. Jordan Peterson, and what constitutes a solid epistemology. The podcast itself is quite painful to listen to, and Jordan Peterson doesn´t do much of an argument there. I think the guy doesn’t do debates well. He’s best when you let him speak for hours. Just give him a mike and let him ramble. He’ll get somewhere. You’ll notice he doesn’t use notes when he speaks, he improvises all the time.

That’s impressive, but there’s a reason why most good intellectual output, like for example this blog, is done on writing. We’re kinda losing that, now with the popularity of podcasts and Youtube videos with men speaking in pseudoprofound voice tones. You can get away with being incoherent and contradicting yourself in speech if you push the appropriate emotional buttons frequently enough. But in writing you have to make logical sense, else people will stop reading. The Greeks realized that pretty soon; they’d go in the Agora and make some sophist speech, and they’d get famous, because even if people don’t like what you’re saying, they can’t help hearing you blabber, and odds are you’ll say some good line sooner or later, and people can’t help remembering that one line that made sense.

Anyway, the reason I like Jordan Peterson is, besides because he has balls of steel and refuses to bow down to the latest bout of the leftist singularity, where a law has been passed in Ontario saying that self-styled transexuals can demand you to refer to them with whatever pronoun they wish, on punishment of a $100,000 fine or something. Now, I’ve been against leftists since way before this; if I were a Interview with the Vampire character I would have started opposing leftism around 1880 or so. But as a linguist, playing with language is a 是可忍孰不可忍 moment. You don’t play with words. And you especially don’t fucking play with closed-class words. That’s evil. But I digress.

The reason I respect Prof. Peterson intellectually is because he understands evolutionary psychology, he understands pragmatic philosophy, and he’s even read his Wittgenstein. Now that is quite something. Ever since he completely demolished traditional philosophy and linguistics in 1953, poor Wittgenstein has been totally ignored by the intellectual establishment. That’s no wonder, philosophers like having a job, as do linguists, and understanding Wittgenstein basically means you should go home, shut up, and take a job in the private sector. It’s much more lucrative to just keep going with the bullshit and pretending nobody has noticed that it’s precisely that: misunderstanding how language works and sounding arcane so that nobody actually notices what you’re blabbering about. Nobody besides your fellow philosophers who, of course, have a vested interest in keeping the racket going.

The key insight of Wittgenstein is that speech is a kind of a game. You agree on a set of rules, e.g. that the word “apple” stands for a certain kind of fruit, and you agree to use that word to refer to that fruit. But games, like most human social interactions, are a local thing. There’s no universal set of rules, and you can come up with a different set of rules with other people. Kinda like good friends sometimes may modify the rules of their card games just went playing among themselves. So you can use the word “apple” to refer to apples, but with some other group you can use the word “apple” to refer to the breasts of women, or whatever. The thing often gets out of hand, as in things like Cockney rhyming slang. The point being that words don’t have “meaning”, they only have patterns of use in certain contexts, governed by local sets of rules. Understanding those rules is a form of sociology.

If you can only watch one clip by Jordan Peterson, it should be this one. I’ll say more: just watch this one clip, you can skip the others. Sorry Jordan, no disrespect, but you’re making enough money. This video is by far the most insightful. Here he explains how human society is in fact just a collection of overlapping games, and what we call morality is just the rules of the game(s). This is not a new idea. Confucius didn’t call it “game”, he called it “ritual”. Plenty of people, most infamously communists, have seized upon this idea to argue that political power can change the rules of the social game in order to change people’s behavior. To some extent that is true, but game rules aren’t completely arbitrary. A game to be a game has to be playable. And that puts severe limits in what kind of rules it can have. The game has to be playable. It has to work. There are natural limits to that. Which brings us back to Gnon’s law. But do listen to him.

 

From 30:00 there’s a fairly good, if rather unfocused, exposition of pragmatic philosophy. Humans have brains; brains have evolved in order to survive and reproduce. It follows that while your brain has to perceive external reality, it only has to do so to the extent that it allows you to survive and reproduce. Once it has gone to that level it’s quite free to evolve in ways that make you completely oblivious of it. Or at least unaware of reality’s details. Humans being a social species, survival and reproduction depends on your social status inside the group. So if for some reason the group has decided that that animal isn’t edible, even though all evidence tells you it is, you better believe it’s not edible, else the group is going to murder you, skin you and put your head in a pike. Hence groupthink.

That’s one part. The other part, which necessarily follows, is that you can never be sure of your knowledge. You have some ideas in your brain, how do you know which are true and which aren’t? David Hume said it well, you never know what’s going to happen. All you have is some confidence that things that happened before with some frequency are going to happen again. What Hume missed is that there’s a reason why habit makes you have that confidence. Kant kinda got halfway there, but the very reason why “custom” basically stands as knowledge is that, well, humans have evolved over millions of years that propensity to take habit of perception to stand for the laws of nature. And they have evolved that because it pretty much works like that. To put it in other words, you don’t really “have ideas in your brain”. Your brain is not a hard-disk. What your brain has is a proclivity to modify its behavior in order to expect that things that happened before on a certain sequence will happen again, which is a good approximation of causality.

Being skeptical of knowledge at this level is just being an ass (David Hume had good reasons for being an ass). All living beings understand causality at the behavioral level because causality is real. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t be here. We wouldn’t have survived and reproduced. Causality is true because it works. That’s what “true” means, as Jordan Peterson wants to put it.

But again, your human brain has also evolved so that if your tribe says you gotta put a lip-plate  or some ghost is going to snatch your husband’s penis, well you’re gonna put a lip-plate and make sure every single friend of yours does so too. So we’re back to square one. Epistemology is hard. What is true? Is causality true, contra Hume? Well you bet it is. Is true the fact that failing to put a lip-plate will make your husband lose his penis? Well many Nilotic tribesmen say it is. Passionately so. Why? It works for them. By Jordan Peterson’s argument, it is true. I don’t think it’s true.

Again, epistemology is hard. Given how brains work, and how the brains of social species work, there is just no way to set up a complete set of axioms. You can propose a One God that does that for you; but we don’t have that, and even if we did, social factions would soon start to twist the definitions of things to fuck with their enemies. So we don’t only need a One God, we need a One God which is constantly coming down to earth to make sure that we don’t change the agreements we had on what is real. That we don’t have. All we can do is make an agreement among ourselves, fallen humans, on what is true, what is not, and how to go find it. That’s what we have right now, actually, with most scientific minded people agreeing that the best standard of truth is predictive power. You’ll notice that is similar to the animal instinct of assuming causality after confirmation of predictive validity. It works pretty well.

So we non-Sudanese lip-plate wearers, have this rule among ourselves, to assume an objective reality independent of subjective hangups, and to test the truth of theories according to experimentation, observability and predictive power. This rule is, again, a kind of game. It is a good game. A playable game. A very productive game.

So when Jordan Peterson says that the concept of “truth” shouldn’t be just applied to objective reality, but should be modified so to aid the flourishing of human existence, whatever that means, he’s proposing we change the rules of the game. Of this particular game, which we call the English language, in which the word “truth” is generally used to mean conformity to external reality. He makes it sound as if some cabal of scientists conspire together to change the meaning of the word so that it excluded subjectivity and religion and whatnot. Well, no, it wasn’t like that. The word “truth” has always excluded subjectivity. In English and in all languages I’m aware of, which are quite a few. That doesn’t mean some groups of people, like say Christian theologians, didn’t have their local rules where they used the word to refer to unfalsifiable and honestly quite bizarre claims. But that wasn’t about claiming a new sense for the word. They really meant that their stuff was also objective reality. If only to signal that they had the power to get away with any sort of absurd claim.

Even the Sudanese lip-plate guys actually think that ghosts are objectively real and they actually snatch the penises of dissenters. They don’t think it’s “true enough” for the purposes of tribal cohesion. So you can’t change the rules of the “truth” game even if you wanted to. I get it that he wants to stop Communist scientists from crossing Ebola with Smallpox. But the way to do that is not by changing the rules of the language and epistemology game. To the extent that that’s even possible; you can’t mess with one word and expect the others to stay the same. Language is a self-referential network. You change one node and the other nodes shift too. Often in unpredictable ways.

Now, I’m a friend of Jordan Peterson. I agree with his dislike of modern society. I agree there’s lots of problems. Lots of nihilism and mental illness and despair. Society is going to hell. Sure enough. But that’s not because of the overzealous objectivism of the scientific establishment. Again, Prof. Peterson is being attacked by Gender Scholars. The problem with science is not that it insists in analyzing objective reality. The problem is that the scientific method only works when observation is reliable. Which worked well in earlier physics and biology. But the prestige of science made us come up with things which just can’t be measured with any reliability. Economics. Psychology. Climate science. Much of medical science. It’s just too complicated to take any reliable data on much of it. And we refuse to admit that we don’t know much about it, and that we can’t know much about it. It is not possible. There is only one ancient intellectual discipline which hasn’t been made into a science: history. It can’t be done. The data just isn’t there. And historians always understood that. There was this healthy skepticism about “history is written by the victors”. You had to take it with a grain of salt. But it has its value nonetheless.

Instead of understanding Economics, or Climate Science any other intellectual disciplines as being the same sort of intellectually dubious and politically charged discipline as history is, we have deluded ourselves into thinking they are epistemologically sound sciences such as physics or chemistry. No, they are not. And they can’t be. And it’s ok. We just have to stop spending billions on them and using them to justify public policy. Yet again history is used to justify public policy all the time.

That half, or 80%, or 90% of modern science is bullshit that doesn’t replicate, and obfuscates more than reveals, is a problem of our modern scientific establishment, not of the scientific method itself. And most certainly not of the idea of “truth”, which again, predates science by millennia, and is a very important foundation of human sociability. Even if Prof. Peterson were to get his way and change the definition; which would require Stalinist levels of social influence; people would soon invent another word to refer that stuff to that stuff out there which doesn’t depend on our subjectivity: the Truth. That’s a good game.

Let me finish with some Chinese history. I wrote about this before. During the last stages of the Jurchen-Chinese war, in the 1140s. General Yue Fei, the most successful Chinese general, was arrested for plotting a coup against the emperor. One of his fellow generals, Han Shizhong, run towards the prime minister, Qin Hui, at court. He then asked him: “What is this thing about Yue Fei plotting a coup? Is any of this true?”.

The prime minister, laconically answered: “It doesn’t have to be”.

By which he meant, the emperor wants him dead, so the hell cares anyway. Note that he didn’t say “it’s true enough”.

Now after reading all this, you can listen to Prof. Peterson make his truth argument at length. Tell me what you think of it now.

Jordan Peterson

Last week Jordan Peterson went to Sam Harris’ podcast. I had mixed feelings about it. I thought nothing good could come out of that. And as I had expected, Sam Harris trounced Jordan Peterson. Completely. The podcast got into a complete bog down on epistemology, where Jordan Peterson tried to define the word “truth” as “good”, and Harris wasn’t buying it, explaining 30 times how it’s very useful to have a concept of truth which is separate from the concept of good. Peterson stood his ground and confronted with volley after volley of sheer logic, refused to concede the point. The guy is stubborn. Which would be ok if he explained his logic, which he fails to do.

Now, I’m no fan of Sam Harris. I find him a bit of a narcissistic douche.  You can see that on his completely unhinged criticism of Trump. And of course his dumb promotion of atheism alongside some senseless mystic crap aided by Amerindian drugs or something. This guy wants to be a liberal with the status it brings, but he wants to make sense too. And he also wants to be a guru. He’s trying to sell you the leftism of yesterday as it if were some new awesome deal. Well it doesn’t work like that.

That said, Sam Harris is smart. He’s very articulate, his thinking is fast and precise. The guy can do logic. All things which aren’t Jordan Peterson’s strong suit. So he got trounced. He didn’t get trounced on ideology, mind you. Jordan Peterson has semi-overtly become a prophet of Gnon, mostly on grounds of his brave refusal to submit to Ontario’s Social Justice Tribunals. Sam Harris would never confront the establishment openly like that. But, credit where it’s due, he’s no fan of the extreme left either, and he has been quite outspoken as a critic of Islam, which hasn’t made him any friends in polite society. So the guys aren’t that far away in ideological terms. But they’re selling different stuff. Sam Harris is selling logic. Materialism. Science. Jordan Peterson is selling pragmatic psychology. But Sam Harris knows his stuff better than Jordan Peterson knows his own stuff.

Now not knowing quite well what he’s selling doesn’t stop him from making $15,000 a month on Patreon, which I’m sure Sam Harris isn’t making. So maybe he knows what he’s doing better than anyone in pragmatic terms. But still, I do like consistent and articulate ideas, so let me do some fisking of Mr. Peterson. I do think he’s on the right direction, widely speaking. His stuff has more potential than Sam Harris. Atheism has been tried. There was this thing called objectivism. Doesn’t work very well. Pragmatic philosophy is a more robust philosophical framework to understand how living beings actually work. And putting that in a wider Darwinian framework is exactly the way it should be done. But it’s hard. It’s really hard. So I don’t blame Jordan Peterson for being confused. I do blame him for being so inept at arguing with Sam Harris. Getting emotional I guess works for a class full of 18 year old girls or to do clinical therapy, but it sure fails to work as robust pragmatic philosophy. It’s a pity, because again he’s on the right track. He has really brilliant moments. So I’ll try to improve on some of his ideas myself, I believe I have an advantage. Jordan Peterson is trying to understand Wittgenstein while being monolingual. It doesn’t work very well like that. As insightful as he is, he just lacks in worldly experience. And that comes pretty handy if you want to see things as they are and not just as your culture primes you to see.

Anyway, you can check out the podcast here. If you have a long commute by all means check it out. Seeing Sam Harris come up with a very good thought experiment every 5 minutes is something to behold. He’s really good at it. But all in all I found the whole conversation pretty infuriating. The two professors speaking of morality this, morality that, how we need to make science subordinate to morality, either through cold unbiased logic, or through wholesale reform of our definition of reality. I’m starting to hate the very sounds of the word “moral”. I mean, please. Science is already subordinate to morality. To morality as it actually exists in the world: to politics. Try to make science against the establishment. Try to deny global warming, or HNU. Heck, Jordan Peterson himself is getting tarred and feathered and risking life and limb for fighting those who would subordinate science to social justice.

Yet again, Professor Peterson is a prophet of Gnon, of a sort, and he is a brave man, so he deserves the benefit of the doubt. I went through the whole set of lectures of this Maps of Meaning class he gives every year, and some other stuff. I’ve reached the point where he’s repeating the same stuff all over again, so let me put some highlights and my comments on them.

The first few sentences. Brilliantly put. It doesn’t work. Evolutionary thinking takes you to the dark side. The Dark Enlightenment. I don’t agree that rationality is new, though. Language is new, but animals are plenty rational at following their goals. A good compromise is to say, indeed, that it hardly matters, but he should explain why. He should explain that behavior is what matters, and what we call “rational” behavior is a tiny subset of behavior which doesn’t need any special rules to explain.

Watch until 39:30 or so. I don’t know if he has read Roissy, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Yes, sexual selection is very important. Natural selection is adapting to a changing enviroment. Sexual selection on the other hand drives you back to a more fixed, ancient standard. That standard of course evolves, but slowly. So modern men still kinda like cavewomen and modern women most certainly like cavemen.

Watch until 1:14 or so. This guy has balls of steel. Here he’s telling a psychology class, which must be 80% female, that conflict resolution requires violence, better still the complete destruction of the enemy. But women don’t do that; and when men get an annoying women, it’s really hard to know what to do. Because the way to resolve that would be to beat the hell out of her. But that’s not proper in our society, so men will basically remove themselves out of society. Which to some extent is happening.

http://www.unz.com/isteve/white-women-drinking-themselves-to-death/

The Yungian argument for immigration restriction. “Every place where the things that you expect to happen, happen, is your territory. You’re at home whenever you know what to do”. Yes, yes. Bringing people from foreign cultures into your land makes you not know what to do; because you learn what to do, you learn your culture when you’re a child. Bringing foreigners, especially hostile foreigners, messes with the cognitive map of your environment. How many people in Europe say they don’t feel at home in their own countries?

Yes, yes. It’s behaviorism. Prof. Peterson is a smart guy to make that connection. But there’s nothing wrong with behaviorism. You’re the guy who said that you can’t be a rationalist if you understand evolution. Well if you’re not a rationalist you’re a behaviorist. Or you should be. Now of course, Behaviorism with a capital B was a historical movement with people like Skinner, and yes many of those guys were blank-slatists, who though they could condition any behavior on any animal given enough time and food pellets. Then they were beaten by the nativist rationalism of Chomsky. But Chomsky and Fodor and all those were full of shit too, let us remember that. There is no necessary link between nativism (i.e. anti-blank slatism, the idea that the brain has an innate structure) and rationalism (or it’s modern descendent cognitivism). Conversely there’s no necessary link between behaviorism (the idea that the brain is organized to produce behavior and not to manipulate abstract information) and blank slatism. Surely we can all agree that the brain has an innate structure, and innate behaviors. We call that instincts. Surely we can say that some behaviors are hard coded, and others rather less soft-coded, and others very soft-coded, so that there are pathways that given certain experiences over time will produce broadly similar behaviors. That’s all compatible with a behaviorist perspective while being perfectly nativist.

And please, let us stop with the Magna Carta nonsense (1:50:00). The Magna Carta wasn’t about “the people” against “the monarchy”. It was about the nobles vs. the king. The nobles had hereditary rights which the king couldn’t invade. That happened in Hungary in 1222 too, by the way. It resulted in the complete destruction of the Hungarian state by the absolutist Turks, but anyway. The point was about how to share the spoils of state power, not about “the people”. That came way later when the much expanded nobility fought a war against the English king in 1642, by which time demotism was a thing.

So people aren’t consciously computing what to do in every instance. Which is… behaviorism. Come on Jordan, don’t fight it. Join the Dark Enlightenment.

The point of how wolves and other animals have evolved strategies to come up with a dominance hierarchy without having to actually kill their rivals is a good one. Humans of course do that all the time, with the highly ritualized wars of tribal people, where people basically just show up and shout to each other. Or the very limited wars of antiquity with those chariots and stuff. Then cavalry happened and proximity vs. diversity produced vicious war. Those guys just didn’t get the joke. There’s this story on the Mongol invasion of Japan. The early Samurais had this fairly lame form of warfare, where they would run to the battlefield, start reciting their ancestry. My father was Lord Fujiwara this my grandfather was Lord Fujiwara that, I am the lord of here and there, then they would have this jousting contest and maybe have their minions shoot an arrow or two. Then the Mongol army came with gunpowder bombs and shooting arrow waves on sight, killing thousands of people in minutes.

Now of course we’ve gone back to ritualized fights to minimize bloodshed. We call that democracy. You count the armies’ soldiers, whoever has more gets to rule for some years.

Jordan Peterson has many little gems like this; you might have caught the general gist of his worldview. But then he goes into epistemology and moral realism and he gets confused. You can see that very clearly because he actually doesn’t know what to say. He stops for seconds trying to find a way of putting it. I think he’s trapped. He’s pwned by his Christian rationalist substratum. Next time let’s see if I can help him get out of his confusion. Hopefully I’ll be briefer than Moldbug’s depwning Richard Dawkins.

The Strong Do What They Can

This pic has been doing the rounds in the Chinese Internet. It’s a parking sign in a mosque in Gansu province, Western China. There’s a lot of muslims there, about a million, 3% or so of the province population. There used to be quite a lot more, until they rebelled in the 1860s. Then Zuo Zongtang and his army came and massacred every muslim he could find.

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Those days are long gone, though, and muslims are quite assertive in China today. Back to the sign. It’s just a run-of-the-mill sign, telling people who go to park inside the mosque what they have to do. Drive slowly, follow directions from the staff, pay the ticket, watch your valuables, you know. Now take a look at rule 3. in the second section. It says:

凡装有易燃易爆,剧毒污染性物品的车辆,特别是凡有女人的车辆不得驶入寺内,否则后果自负

“All cars who are carrying flammable, explosive or toxic products, especially all cars which are carrying women, cannot drive into the mosque. Else they will face the consequences.”

Doesn’t say which consequences. But it can’t be very good. I kinda like the “especially”. Like bombs and poison is bad, man. But be especially careful about bringing women! That’s even worse! That’s just trolling. And successfully, now the sign is all over the Chinese internet. And the Chinese are pretty feminist. Women there almost universally work, nag and are often pretty annoying in general. Nothing like the modern West, of course, not even close. But stuff like this really gets them angry.

But still, muslims are quite assertive in modern China. As often, the bulk of political signaling is done in universities, this bizarre contraption where young people in the pinnacle of their narcissism and status-seeking instincts are put in a closed area for 4 long years doing nothing at all but listening to senseless bullshit. And men and women put together! Well, what many Chinese college students do is go on online forums to bitch about muslims. Those bitches with the hijab claiming discrimination. Those fuckers who get private halal canteens. Who always walk in packs and hit on our women; while if we hit on their women we get beaten up and nobody cares. I hear it’s getting worse. For how long, I wonder.